One of the main habitats in the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is the prairie grasslands. At the refuge, there are three main types of grasslands: xeric tallgrass prairies, tallgrass prairies, and mixed prairie grasslands.
The most interesting types of grassland found here is the xeric tallgrass. Xeric tallgrass prairies are some of the oldest grasslands in existence, having been around since the Ice Age. Remnants of this rare habitat are preserved at the refuge.
The tallgrass prairies within the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge are home to several rare species of grass. These include the big bluestem grass, switchgrass and dropseed.
The mixed prairie grasslands get their name from the mix of mountain grasses and plains grasses found there. Within the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge one can find an abundance of bluestem grass, both big and small. Bluestem grasses are characteristic of plains grasslands. One can also find mountain muhly and Porter’s aster, grasses that are normally characteristic of mountainous areas.
The presence of these two types of grasslands in the same area is fairly unique, making the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge a rarity amongst grasslands. Studies show great stability of these grasslands ecosystems so many more generations should be able to enjoy them for years to come, including those lucky enough to live nearby who can gaze upon them every day!
Learn more about the wildlife in the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge here!
Photo Courtesy of Candelas Rocky Flats